We are only marking the beginning of the season of Advent this weekend, but the commercials advertising everything we should want for Christmas have been bombarding us for a few weeks now. I’m reminded of the reality of desire.
A verse I long ago committed to memory was Psalm 37.4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It sounds kind of formulaic, doesn’t it? “If” I delight myself in the Lord, “the result” will be to gain the desires of my heart. But it’s not so simple, is it?
Context is everything. Consider what that verse looks like in context, in verses 3-6: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
Considering the immediate context of the verse, and the wider context of the Bible as a whole, verse 4 doesn’t seem so formulaic, does it? We are called, in the context of delighting in the Lord, to trust in him and commit our way to him. And doesn’t it follow, then, that if we trust in, delight in, and commit our way to the Lord, that the desires of our hearts will begin to look a lot like the desires of God’s heart?
My prayer is always that my will will be so knit into the will of God that mine will be indistinguishable from his. It’s a daily discipline, but there is much peace, and much joy, in finding our desires resembling the Lord’s.
As the ads bombard your eyes, telling you what a truly loving person would give another (or oneself) for Christmas, keep in mind that the Lord will give us the desires of our hearts, when we truly delight in him.
Those desires won’t sell much advertising, but they’ll make a difference for eternity.